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Safety and Health





General Health Advice

Walking Pitfalls in Odessa

Stomach Upsets
Swimming in Odessa
Do not drink the water
Pharmacies (Apteka)
Hospitals in center


Minority, non-white visitors to Ukraine, will probably be hassled several times by the police. The police will ask for a visa. Often they will want a bribe. You are not expected nor required to pay a bribe to the police, though they may take you to the police station.

Always carry your passport and visa.

If you are white and you see the police on the street, stop speaking a foreign language as you pass, and the police will almost always leave you alone.

Police sign

Police stations in the center (Милиция, Полиция)  
Evreyskaya 12 (Еврейская)
Evreyskaya 14 (Еврейская)
Grecheskaya 42 (Греческая) 22-45-42
Kanatnaya 101B (Канатная) 22-40-79
Osipova 23 (Осипова) 28-78-68
Preobrazhenskaya 44 (Преображенская) 22-71-17

Police Car at base of stairs


Ukrainian crime is low by American and English standards. Most crimes involve petty crime such as pick-pocketing and money scams.

Keep in mind these points:

  • NEVER exchange your money with someone on the street. Watch out for staged fights.
  • While you are watching the fight someone else is stealing your money.
  • A new scam involves a person 'dropping' some money on the street. Another 'passerby' sees the money and asks the victim if they want to split the money. Another person comes along and claims to be the police and demands a bribe.
  • Thieves use razor blades to open purses and backpacks.
  • Be wary of large groups of children and gypsies.

Often areas of heightened criminal activity are: train stations, bazaars, airports, large public gatherings, and casinos and nightclubs.

If you are in trouble and there are people who are near that may help, yell "pojzar" (fire) to attract attention.

General Health Advice

For most visitors to Ukraine, stomach upsets is the greatest health risk.

It is a good idea to pack a first aid kit. Include some oral dehydration salts in your kit: these will help replace lost minerals if you suffer from diarrhea.

Pack prescription medications.

In the summer, there are mosquitoes in Odessa, but not in significant numbers.

Odessa is an incredibly green city. There are tens of thousands of trees. One old Odessa guide from 1976 said there were15 square meters (18 square yards) of greenery per person (whatever this might mean). But in late June and July, particularly on Rishelevskaya (Ришельевская) the pollen from trees is so bad, even those that have never had problems with pollen before may have difficulties with breathing and eyesight.

Walking Pitfalls in Odessa
Roads and sidewalks in Odessa are in horrendous and sometimes dangerous conditions. Always walk with care and watch where you are going. One American volunteer recently broke her ankle in a hole in the street.

Desperate individuals will sometimes steal then sell manhole covers for scrap metal.

In the past few years, it is the latest vogue for businesses to replace the concrete outside of their establishment with fancy bricks. They look nice, but are incredibly slick when it is wet.

Many buildings in Ukraine are literally falling apart. Be aware of old building masonry and balconies. Several years ago two people were killed from falling masonry while talking on a pay phone on Shevchenko Street (Шевченко) in Kiev. Every year the newspapers report a pedestrian being injured from falling masonry.

It does not take long to recognize that Odessa is a pedestrian city. At night the number of people walking throughout the city helps a person feel much safer walking the streets. But Odessites are often impatient when crossing streets and will rarely wait for the cross light to change. They will often cross the street halfway and wait in the middle for passing cars. Because of this and the vast number of pedestrians, cars tend not to stop or even slow down to allow pedestrians the right of way. Never assume that a car will give you the right of way, even on a crosswalk. Recently, the Canadian Ambassador was hit and walking across the street in Kiev.

Hepatitis A, tetanus, TB, immunization Recommended.

Stomach Upsets
Mild diarrhea is the most common problem in Ukraine.

There are some ways to avoid your chances of falling ill:

Swimming in Odessa
Odessa water is heavily polluted. As a visitor will notice, this doesn't seem to bother less health consciousness Ukrainians.

Do not drink the water
Odessa water should never be drank unless it is boiled. Tea and coffee are safe as long as the water has been boiled.

Bottled water is available throughout the city. Though most water is mineral water with gas. If you want mineral water without gas ask for "Voda bez gaza" (Вода без газа)

If you are staying in Odessa for an extended period of time, there are deepwater wells through out the city, which have safer, fresher, cleaner water, which are very popular with local Odessites. Bring your own container, the water is free.

One deepwater well near the center is located at:
Staro bazarny Park (Сквер Старобазарный)
(At Staro bazarny Park (Сквер Старобазарный), Intersection of Bazarnaya (Базарная) and Aleksandrovsky Ave. (Александровский проспект) south west of the Cossack statue)

Avoid kiosk meat.

Pharmacies (Apteka/Аптека)
It is strongly suggested to take a translator when visiting the pharmacy. Ukrainian pharmacies rarely carry international brand-name medicines. No doctor's prescription is needed to purchase medicines, which are tightly controlled in Western countries. When a person is sick Odessites tend to try to be helpful and may offer prescription equivalent medication. Be wary what advice and medication you take.

Many pharmacies in the city are open 24 hours, but orders can only be made late in the night through a small window. In the night, calls ahead to find out if the below pharmacies are open 24 hours. Often the cashier is sleeping so you must knock many times to be heard.

Listed here are some of the pharmacies in the center. Like most schools, hospitals, and stores in the former Soviet Union, many of these pharmacies have only numbers.

Pharmacies (Аптека), by address
Name Address Telephone
Meditsina (Медицина)
Bunina 29 (Бунина)
L Teh Keh (ЛТК)
Deribasovskaya 7 (Дерибасовская)
Informpolicerpic (Информполисерис)
Ekaterininskaya 23 (Екатерининская)
Apteka 6 (Children's)
Ekaterininskaya 8/10 (Екатерининская)
Apteka 38
Ekaterininskaya 80 (Екатерининская)
Apteka 30
Evreyskaya 58 (Еврейская)
San (Сан)
Grecheskaya 33 (Греческая)
Apteka 15
Kanatnaya 51 (Канатная)
Apteka 2
Pastera 22 (Пастера)
Elena (Елена)
Pastera 9 (Пастера)
Medikoteka (Медикотека)
Preobrazhenskaya 18 (Преображенская)
Gelen (Гелен)
Preobrazhenskaya 27 (Преображенская)
Irina e Ko (Ирина и Ко)
Preobrazhenskaya 33 (Преображенская)
Apteka 247
Preobrazhenskaya 61 (Преображенская)
Apteka 27
Preobrazhenskaya 77 (Преображенская)
Apteka 252
Preobrazhenskaya 85
Interhim (Интерхим)
Preobrazhenskaya 3 (Преображенская)
7 Pushkinskaya (Пушкинская)
Check text, maybe incorrect addresses
Apteka 12
Pushkinskaya 61 (Пушкинская)
Apteka 17
Rishelevskaya 11 a (Ришельевская)
Apteka 300
Rishelevskaya 32 (Ришельевская)
Apteka 244
Sadovaya 2 (Садовая)
Apteka 2
Sadovaya 11 (Садовая)
Apteka 1, Gaevsko (Гаевско)
Visa, MasterCard accepted
(Click here for more on this historical pharmacy)
Sadovaya 21 (Садовая)
24 hours

Arcadia Beach Pharmacy
Apteka 35 Arcadia Plazj (Пляж Аркадия) 63-37-92

Hospitals in center (Больница, Госпиталь)
Pastera 5 (Пастера) 23-11-47
Pirogovskaya 2 (Пироговская) 29-89-01
Troitskaya 37 (Троицкая) 22-13-10
Uspenskaya 2 (Успенская) 24-10-40
Uspenskaya 4A (Успенская) 25-86-30